Our History

The history of Marcus Oldham begins with a bequest of funds from the estate of the late Marcus William Oldham. Although Oldham died in in 1939, it took until 1958 before the Union Trustee Company acting as trustees of the estate arranged a meeting with the headmasters of The Geelong College, Wesley College, Geelong Grammar School, Melbourne Grammar School and Scotch College. That meeting was to develop a plan on how to provide continuing education for school leavers that were to become farmers. That group also made the recommendation of the appointment of the first Principal, Ivo Dean.

Ivo Dean was initially charged with the responsibility of establishing a location for the College. He developed a set of principles to support his ethos for the College, many of which remain today.

  • Students would be required to have at least one year of practical experience since leaving school
  • Students would be selected on matriculation results, age, practical experience, academic level and personal interview
  • Practical experience learning opportunities would be embedded in the course
  • Students would be exposed to a range of farming systems through tours, visits and case studies
  • Students would have continuous assessment opportunities rather than final exams

Since the establishment of the College, additional courses have been added to the extent that Marcus Oldham is now Australia’s leading higher education institution providing specialised teaching and learning in Agriculture, Agribusiness and Equine Management from Diploma level through to Masters level.

Source: Stephens M, Daring to Differ, Marcus Oldham College, 2012


1962 Marcus Oldham opens its doors (14 students in Farm Management)
1963 Completion of the first accommodation wing
1979 The Equine program was first introduced

The first female students were admitted to the College

1981 James Darling Resources Centre Library, Administration and Printing rooms completed
1983 McCann Stables developed
1984 Student social rooms built
 1989 College Foundation established

Launch of the inaugural fundraising campaign $1.3 million raised to build the Arthur Beggs Centre and the Indoor Riding Arena

 1990 Scobie and Claire Mackinnon Wing developed for student residence
 1992 Introduction of the Agribusiness course

William Buckland Wing developed including additional lecture room and staff offices

 1994 Law-Smith Wing developed for additional residences
1999 Introduction of the Bachelor Degree to the Farm Business Management program
 2005 Development of distance education programs

Introduction of the Bachelor Degree to the Agribusiness program

 2006/07 Buckland Wing Extension (new classrooms) completed
 2008 Centre for the Study of Agribusiness launched
 2009 Opening of the Ivo Dean Centre (Dining room and function centre) and landscaping of courtyard
 2010 Opening of the Scobie and Claire Mackinnon stable complex
2011 Opening of the upgraded James Darling Resources Centre and the Geoff Neilson administration centre
2012 Gifted Murradoc Farm by Philip Myer and his family
2014 Introduced the Master of Agribusiness program
2015 Opening of Student Recreational Hub. Includes tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, indoor gym, club room and landscaped gardens
2017 Construction of the Student Lounge
2020 Opening of the Douglas Boyd Learning Centre and introduction of accelerated Agriculture and Agribusiness Degrees